Social media tips for startups : Social Media minus The Myths – Chapter 3 – Social Media ROI basics

26th Aug 2010
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This is a guest article by Advit Sahdev, Founder of the Online Digital Marketing Agency ODigMa. They specialize in social media marketingin India with special focus on Facebookbusiness communities. Read more about Advit here.Here are 3 real life situations - Tell me what would you do in each of them

1 - You are going to a movie when you notice that your neighbour has locked his door from outside and left the key inside. Would you just ignore him or would you get him in your house, make him feel comfortable, help him and then leave?

2 - You are about to leave from office as you want to get ready for tonight's party. A colleague is in desperate need and asks you to explain a complex piece of code that you have written. Would you politely say no, or sit an extra half an hour and be a bit late to the party?

3 - You have had a long and hard week and want to just relax at a resort when your friend calls up and asks you to donate blood (in a hospital 20 kms from your place) for his friend. What would you do - would you come up with an excuse that you are not in town or would you actually spend your time and money to go to the hospital and spend half a day here.

Now let's say that you have just learnt the concept of Return on investment and have decided to implement that in every action that you perform. so in the above mentioned cases, you will obviously go for the first choice as there could possibly be no "return" by missing a movie, being late for a party and spending time and money for some stranger. You would rather get the "return" from the movie, party or the resort. It's simple math - you put in some money/time/effort and it is called investment, you get something back (money, pleasure, satisfaction etc) and its called return.

Wrong! No, it's not the math that is wrong, it is the time frame. We are too focussed on immediate returns and not long term. Let's think a bit long term - Would you get higher returns from a movie, party or resort or from a thankful & appreciative neighbor, colleague or friend? Also, there would be multiple returns in the second case as opposed to a single return in the first option.

Now let us apply the same concept to social media fans and followers. You build a strong community, engage with the community, spend precious time and money to focus on 1:1 and positive interactions. All this means that you are probably spending a lot of effort, money and time. You could have actually used this time and money on other activities and had higher profits, i.e. you could have watched the movie, been at the party or relaxed in the resort.

Simple, isn't it! Social media ROI cannot be negative if you are a long term player. Engage in a positive manner and your community will reciprocate, not once, but again and again.

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